SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — The unity and political dominance of the Ortega clan dates back when their forbear Joaquin Ortega was appointed governor of this province in 1901. But it appears that this supremacy has been wracked, if not wrecked, with wranglings among members due to politics.
This surfaced during an interview with some of the protagonists who are pitted against each other in various posts in the May 2016 polls, They expressed dismay that their supposedly united clan is now broken due to politics.
Gubernatorial candidate Mario Ortega, city mayoralty bet Mary Jane Ortega, wife of Congressman Victor Ortega, and her running mate Jose Maria “Pepe” Ortega, explained why the clan is in disarray as they pursue their own ambitions and goals in this year’s political exercise in the province.
“Incumbent Governor Manuel “Manoling” Ortega is not in control of the situation because he is not in good health,” Pepe, brother of Mario, said..
“It really pains us brothers because we sacrificed for each other. We don’t want our family to be broken or disunited. Kayatmi koma nga agmaymaysakami ta no united kami awan koma problemami amin.( We want our family to be intact so that there is no problem for all of us),” he added
“We in our family circle conducted several meetings and we agreed to give the gubernatorial post to Francisco “Pacoy” Ortega III. But we asked for a concession that the Abono partylist representative should be given to Mario. Yet it was given to Vini Nola Ortega, spouse of Pacoy,” Pepe said.
“Napintas koma– gobernador ni Pacoy (Francisco III), Abono ni Mario, everybody happy. There would be no in-fighting between Ortegas, if the sons gave in,” he emphasized.
“I was only asking for one term yet they don’t want to accommodate me. What will I do now with all the experience and wisdom that I’ve gotten all this 28 years? Will I deny it to the people of La Union?” Mario said.
Furthermore, Pepe said that his brother, board member bet Kit Ortega, met Pacoy III and incumbent mayor Pablo Ortega. He claimed that Pacoy gave assurance not to worry for his brothers, but Mannix and Alfredo, have other plans.
Consequently, Mannix is running as a congressional bet (against incumbent city mayor Pablo Ortega in the first district) while Alfredo is opposing Pepe in the vice- mayoralty race.(Alfredo, Pacoy and Mannix are sons of Gov. Ortega)
“Awan met ti natungpal, apo. Impapilitda met nga kukua da manen ti Abono… kukua da kano amin. Dayta, apo, ti istorya no apay nga nag-landing metten nga Ortega ken Ortega ti naglalaban,( After several meetings with clan members, these young Ortegas did not heed our agreement and it resulted to fielding other members of the family),” Pepe said in an attempt to explain the rift among the Ortegas.
For her part, Mary Jane said, “Pacoy is Francisco III and my son is Francis IV–they were classmates. Of all my nephews, I probably say that he was my closest and it pains me to see two of them (Pacoy and Mario) running against each other.”
“But I cannot be neutral, I have to choose and I chose the brothers because they (referring to “Pacoy” and the others) are younger, they have all the time. And they have taken it against me and have now sided with my opponent who is not an Ortega,” Mary Jane, former city mayor, said, visibly upset.
It was learned that Mary Jane, Pepe and other members filed their certificates of candidacy in October, but Mario procrastinated and filed his COC in December, hoping that the clan will ultimately resolve the issue.
“Idiayko lang a nakita, apo, nga ni Mario ket haan lang nga nalaing, haan lang nga nagaget no di ket matured for the position of governor. Sayang pay diyay duwa nga bulan kunana ta baka maurnos pay ti pamilya tayo. Saan a bale nga madehado akon, kunana. Idiyayko a nakita nga ni Mario ket haan nga selfish nga tao, which La Union needs now,” Pepe said.
“Isu ti imbagak kadagiti taga-La Union nga maymaysa nga barko ti nagsakayanmi. Daytoy nga barko, La Union ti naganna–ti masapul mi nga kapitan ket diyay matured, unselfish, inclusive leader,” he said.
“It was only then that I saw Mario as very compassionate, hard worker. Imagine, he waited for two months before filing his candidacy only to see that the young Ortegas would not give in, ” Pepe rued.
Mario claimed that Governor Manoling gave him authority to run the affairs of the provincial capitol since he probably felt, he said,
that he could not longer do it because of his health. Also, he said, “Manoling” would not let La Union be left behind that way.
“He knows what I can do because I’ve been working with him since 1988. I am living the word, doing it. The only missing is the title of governor,” Mario added, referring to “Manoling.”
Northbound Philippine News Online tried but failed to get reactions from the younger Ortegas for their side in the controversy.But in an earlier national media interview, Pacoy III defended his position in running against a relative, “When a person is qualified for the position, he is free to run for the position,” he allegedly said. Thom F. Picana / northboundasia.com